The 2018-19 NFL season might be over but there is no time for rest as the Patriots and Rams will only be the last two teams to turn their attention to the 2019 NFL offseason.
Everybody within striking distance of the playoffs dreams of being next season's Patriots and everybody who struggled in 2018 has designs on being the next Rams or Bears and using the offseason to ensure they rise up the rankings in 2019. In the NFC East, the Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins all have to feel like they're close after last season while the Giants have their work cut out for them following a 5-11 year.
Want to cash in huge on the NFL, NBA, NHL, college sports and much, much more? Join SportsLine now to get picks from a proven computer model and Vegas experts, plus daily and season-long Fantasy advice and projections.
With the waiver system already back in place and franchise/transition tag designation beginning in two weeks, all four teams are beginning to put a free agency plan together. The tampering period begins on March 11 and the new league year will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 13.
And while there is a lot to be determined between now and then, each team's roster holes, their available cap space and the players whose contracts we know expire soon give us enough information to start determining who each team's free agency favorites might be. So let's take a look at three players each team should among the favorites for this offseason.
Rams DT Ndamukong Suh
Raiders TE Jared Cook
Seahawks S Earl Thomas
For the Cowboys, a lot hinges on what happens with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. He played on the franchise tag last season and the Cowboys are still hopeful to get a long-term deal done after 25 sacks last season. However, if they can't, it changes their offseason plans with edge-rusher becoming a very pressing and expensive need.
Assuming they find a way to keep Lawrence, defensive line is still a need but they can shift some their focus to the interior and that's why Ndamukong Suh is our top favorite to land with the Cowboys. Rod Marinelli loves hard-charging three-techniques and while Suh isn't quite as dominant as he once was, he's still really good and a great fit for the Dallas defense.
The Cowboys are also still looking to fill the glaring hole left by Jason Witten's retirement last season at tight end and Jared Cook looks like he'll be the best free agent available at the position. As for Earl Thomas, we've heard his name linked to the Cowboys via trade for years and the former Texas star makes sense to come home given that he's an upcoming free agent, the Cowboys have a need at safety and they have nearly $47 million in projected salary cap space.
Colts CB Pierre Desir
Seahawks CB Justin Coleman
Jets RB Bilal Powell
The Eagles have a cap crunch coming this offseason, with Over The Cap currently projecting them to be just over $13 million over a projected salary cap of $190 million. That will start to shake itself out after the Nick Foles situation is sorted, but the Eagles probably won't have the luxury of being big spenders any way you slice it.
Still, they have some glaring holes that they could address craftily in free agency at cornerback and running back. Pierre Desir was Pro Football Focus' No. 18 cornerback of the 2018 season and he'd probably still come cheap enough for the Eagles to get involved if he hits free agency. And if Desir isn't available or is too costly, Justin Coleman is another young CB on the rise who fits at what should be a reasonable price.
At running back, Bilal Powell is no star but he'd be an affordable three-down option who can move into a third-down role for the Eagles if they can find their running back of the future in the NFL draft.
Browns QB Tyrod Taylor
Saints QB Teddy Bridgewater
Broncos EDGE Shaq Barrett
The Redskins were in the thick of playoff contention until Alex Smith suffered a compound leg fracture in December. Now they have a mess to sort through at quarterback with no way of getting Smith's contract off the books.
With a projected $20 million in cap space available and the potential to free up more money elsewhere, the Redskins could be serious players for Nick Foles, Joe Flacco or Ryan Tannehill (if they becomes available) but that would mean they have an obscene amount of cap space tied up in the position. So look for them to find a player they think can bridge them back to Alex Smith in the interim and Tyrod Taylor or Teddy Bridgewater make sense.
The Redskins would also love an edge rusher to pair with Ryan Kerrigan to improve their pass rush and Shaq Barrett would be an extremely savvy addition. Barrett has been an effective edge rusher for the Broncos for years now, he's just been buried behind Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware (before retirement) and now Bradley Chubb. He could be a star in the right setting at a relative bargain price.
New York Giants
Panthers OT Daryl Williams
Broncos C Matt Paradis
Rams OG Rodger Saffold
The Giants still don't seem to have a plan for where they're going at quarterback after Eli Manning, but it doesn't make a huge difference if they can't block anybody. Offensive line has to be the top priority in free agency and then quarterback is something they can begin to address in the draft.
Daryl Williams could be the best potential bargain at offensive tackle after missing most of the 2018 season. He had previously ranked as the No. 3 right tackle in the NFL of 2017 according to Pro Football Focus and if he can return to that caliber of player he could be a long-term answer up front for the Giants at age 26.
Rodger Saffold and Matt Paradis on the interior are shorter-term answers at 30 and 29, respectively, but you can depend on them for the next two or three seasons to protect the quarterback and pave the way for Saquon Barkley. Both were top-10 players at their respective positions in 2018.